|Graphic Acquired: Proceed to Stage Two|
If you're a regular reader here you'll know that in my Great Big Plan to Overhaul Professions, I suggested a phased area with a crafting tower for all your professions needs. Well, Blizzard have gone along these lines with their new Expansion plans for Garrisons; it is what was, for many people, the Holy Grail in game: player housing. It utilises the phasing technology that farms currently use, but that's pretty much where the comparison ends. If what we've heard in the last two days is any indicator, this is a Mini-Game quite like any other you'll have played anywhere else, with elements from professions, battle pets, quests and so much more.
The Offical Blue Post on the US site gives us a basic taster of what we can expect:
'You’ll customize your Garrison’s layout, appearance, and gameplay effects, and attract followers to operate it. The Garrison allows World of Warcraft players to own a larger part of the world than ever before, and opens up a wide variety of interesting gameplay decisions—with as much or as little micromanagement as you wish. Your Garrison exists seamlessly in the world, but you won’t need to go into an instance portal to visit your home base—as you travel through Draenor, you’ll see your Garrison looming on the horizon.'
That means you can move it around, and it will always be available for you to access. There's a lot to do as well, with building to be built and improved, and levels of customisation that directly affect the usefulness of the structures. You'll be starting with four basic buildings:
- Town Hall
- Fishing shack
- Alchemy Lab
- Enchanter's Study
- Engineering Works
- Jewelcrafting Gallery
- Salvage Yard
- Scribe's Office
- Tailoring Studio
- The Tannery
Having learnt the biggest lesson from the Tillers Farm, this won't be summat you work on and only you can see. Friends can come too. You can all be Property Magnates together :D
|Three levels of Barracks, we think. This is Human Alliance :D|
I'd really hope these buildings will be race and faction specific, as Blizzard have the resources at their disposal to make that happen, and that should encourage people to have Garrisons for every race they play (BUILD MOAR STUFF DAMMIT) It's not just buildings however, you will have your mini-workforce at your disposal, and when they're not making stuff at the Garrison you can send them out on Missions. These are twofold: they provide you with raw materials to continue to improve your surroundings, but they might result in rewards for you, too. As you move from 90 to 100 your followers also gain levels, so you won't have to wait until you max level to start playing this 'game': one of the biggest criticisms I had of the Farms was they shut off after the initial round of quests to open them. Not so here, as you level, so does your population. Those missions also mirror the difficulty of content you encounter: quests, scenarios, instances and raids, with varying numbers of followers required and different timescales/rewards when they complete them.
In good news for Pet Lovers, you'll have a Pet Stable option. There's a Trading Post (AH & Bank access perhaps?) plus an Infirmary (which suggests followers could be injured whilst on missions and will need to be healed.) There's a Stable too (this is where Hunters get excited and maybe we get to choose our favourite pets to play outside) and an Inn where you will recruit further followers... Needless to say, like the Tillers farm, this is one feature we really need to get our hands on in Beta as a matter of urgency. The potential sounds fairly limitless, and the possibilities... well, I've played a few God Sims in my time, and in essence that's what this is, with elements of the Star Wars: The Old republic crafting interface thrown in for good measure.
Needless to say, this is going to be a mini-game that's going to make everyone forget their farms. It may also make them forget a lot more besides...